This camp with ten tents opened in 2003 and commands the highest overnight price in Ranthambore. Set on 18 acres of deciduous forest on the edge of the tiger preserve, Aman-i-Khás delivers the expected high-style, Aman experience in safari form. Once you pass through the entry gate of high ocher walls, a stark stone slab pathway leads to the central gathering area of the camp, a sunken stone seating area, where a massive campfire is lit at night.

Three oversized tents containing the dining room, lounge and spa line the main camp level, and while their walls and ceilings are simple canvas, the polished stone floors and custom leather and wood furniture seem more suited to a chic Parisian apartment than your typical safari tent. Well-known interior designer Jean-Michel Gathy, who also created Amanyara in the Turks and Caicos, fashioned towering dark wood bookcases with leather inlays and sleek contemporary versions of campaign furniture. In the ten air-conditioned guest tents, which are scattered around the property, a modernist aesthetic mixes with Asian accents like the day beds that serve as a constant reminder that this is an Aman safari, not a Maharajah’s. The camp pool was designed to resemble an Indian step-well, and guests can lounge on triangular pillows and mattresses instead of chaise longues.

In keeping with the Aman philosophy, the staff here focuses on delivering unusual experiences for its guests as well as sexy accommodations, so they may suggest a breakfast set up in the Ranthambore fort, village walks or camel treks. Additionally, the tents come with their own butlers, who are there to make every experience as memorable as possible. While most travelers come to Aman-i-Khás to see tigers, once there, guests will appreciate just relaxing on the serene grounds as much as seeing the big cats. Aman is the Sanskrit word for peace and Khas means special in Hindu; few would deny that this is a special place of peace.

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Suite at Sher Bagh, Ranthambore, India

Sher Bagh

Sher Bagh doesn’t just feel more historic or authentic than other camps in Ranthambore, it is. The owner’s parents, Tejbir and Malvika Singh, arrived in the area in 1974, before tiger tourism was established. They pitched their tent under a banyan tree near the park and over the years worked very closely with the famous tiger expert Fateh Singh Rathore, godfather to Sher Bagh’s owner Jaisal Singh. Rathore, also known as Tigerman, is credited with being India’s best-known conservationist, and until his death in 2011 he worked closely with the property.

The Singhs purchased the land where the camp sits in the 1980s, but the hotel, featuring a maharajah safari style, didn’t open until 2000. The main lodge houses a dining room and bar with leather club chairs and books for browsing. The twelve air-conditioned tents form a semi-circle with the Royal tent, the grandest accommodation with its own pool, at one end. In contrast to the tents at Aman-i-Khas and Vanyavilas, those at Sher Bagh emphasize simplicity and comfort, but not excess of style or luxury. Beds have nice white linens and the basic comforts with a colonial aesthetic like a bedside lantern and a shower (but no tub). Expect to see animal prints and wood and stone detailing throughout.

In evenings, guests gather around the outdoor bar where a fire is lit and trade stories of their day’s adventures. Flickering lanterns strung up in the trees create a romantic atmosphere around the dinner tables, where guests dine on excellent Indian food, much of which comes from the camp’s organic garden. Other camp highlights include a pool, spa, well-stocked gift shop and the caring staff who provide binoculars, tea and treats on game drives.

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Luxury Tent Interior - The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambore, India

The Oberoi Vanyavilas

The Oberoi’s five-star philosophy has been to build contemporary palaces and royal retreats as a modern Maharajah would. The Vanyavilas employed top Indian craftsmen, who used traditional techniques to create a 21st-century luxurious aesthetic. Vanyavilas serves up the most spoiling stay that one can find while on a tiger safari.

The main lodge area features a grand but cozy library, where a fire is lit at night and the mahogany bookshelves are stocked with wildlife books. Paintings of Indian landscapes and wildlife decorate the main dining room, and in warm weather, tables are set in a lovely inner courtyard for outdoor dining. The 25 guest tents are scattered over 20 acres of landscaped gardens of mango and lemon trees and billowing bougainvillea.

From the outside, the tents appear simple, but step inside and you find polished teak floors, wood and brass furniture, canopy beds and a full bathroom with a claw-foot bathtub and his and her sinks. The accommodations have all of the comforts of a five-star hotel (including wifi), and yet the real luxury lies in the details: soft wool, tiger-print rugs, canvas ceilings embroidered with tigers on the prowl, cut crystal bedside lamps, comfortable club chairs and an outdoor patio with loungers. With tents this plush, guests may find it hard to go outside.

When not out on safari or tucked in the gorgeous tents, guests can enjoy the small spa, gym or the picturesque pool area. Every evening naturalists give presentations on the famous Ranthambore tigers or conservation topics in the study, which is next to the billiards room. Daily yoga classes and other activities like an organic garden session for kids and elephant experiences with the camp’s resident elephant, Lakshmi, make it easy to understand why seeing a tiger on safari here is only a small piece of the resort’s attraction. Especially great for families, the Oberoi Vanyavilas offers a plethora of activities, in addition to safari.

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